December 17, 2018  

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
TopPrincipal's Message - A Season of Giving 
Sequoia's Adopt-a-Family Program begins with a conversation.  Elvira Macias, Family Center Coordinator and Parent Liaison, and Elisa Niño-Sears, Volunteer Coordinator and Family Liaison for the SHSEF, speak with qualified students one-on-one to determine gifts which might brighten their family's holiday.  Often, the students will provide a lot more guidance as to the needs of younger siblings or parents. "I don't need anything," is a common refrain.

Once the one-on-ones are completed, and the spreadsheet filled, it is amazing to see the extent to which our community kicks into gear.   Over 600 gift wishes were posted, but within just a few days, they were all covered.  A few highlights:
  • One teacher donated sixteen $25 Safeway gift cards to make sure eight families enjoy a special holiday meal over the break.
  • Another teacher donated ten $25 Target gift cards to make sure ten of our hard-working parents enjoy a special gift over the holidays.
  • Da Vinci Marble's (local San Carlos business) employees each decided to adopt students and purchased an amazing 40 gifts!
  • Jane Woodman and the Sequoia Bands' families (band, advanced band, jazz band) pooled together $600 in just a couple of days to sponsor an extra large family with 15 gifts, food and more.
  • Many donors are parents of local 8th graders who are just sooo excited to join Sequoia next year as freshmen.  They got a head start in getting to be part of the school by donating generously this year.
  • One local minister sponsored 6 gifts.
  • One mom sponsored another mom's request for an Amazon gift card to help her pay for textbooks; she herself is a student, working towards her own college degree.
  • One donor was missing her dad terribly.  He passed away years ago, and so in his honor, she chose to sponsor gifts for ten of our dads.
The Adopt-a-Family Program serves our most in-need families across the school.  In many cases, identified families are facing severe housing or medical crises.  We were able to serve 100 families this year, up 34% from 2017.  For each family, personalized gifts are provided for each child and a gift card is presented to each parent.   Hoodies, jeans, and Vans were very popular requests this year.  Many kids asked for other items like art supplies or books.   One student asked for a gift card to take his family out for sushi (his favorite food).  Materials for making slime and friendship bracelets, Spiderman, Peppa Pig, Pokemon, the Golden State Warriors, FC Barcelona, firetrucks, and unicorns, all made the list.  We covered a lot of ground.  This year's Adopt-a-Family gifts totaled approximately $5,000 worth of groceries for families, $5,000 worth of gifts for moms and dads, and $14,000 worth of gifts for kids and students.
An army of parent volunteers -- English-speakers and Spanish-speakers -- are now hard at work in the Family Center checking-in gifts, labeling, sorting, organizing, and distributing gifts over a two week period.  For many volunteers, it's a welcome break from work and hectic chore-lists this time of year.  It's also a great community builder (and a lot of fun).
For the past 20 years, Sequoia s tudents, parents, grandparents, teachers and staff, parents of Sequoia alumni, local religious organizations, local community members, and local businesses have come together to make sure the holidays are a special time for all members of our community in the spirit of U naliyi .  What an effort, what a reward, and what a great place of friends!
I'll sign-off on 2018 by wishing your family a restful, joyous, and safe holiday season and winter break. I hope things slow down between now and January 9th, and you are able to enjoy spending time together as a family.  Thank you for the part you played in making the first semester a success.  I look forward to sharing and celebrating the successes 2019 will bring at Sequoia High School.
Help Us Pass the Halfway Mark By End of 2018 
Thank you to our incredible community; we have already raised $210,000 Invest in Sequoia  during this season of giving and help support innovative programs, exceptional faculty, and deserving students.
Finals Week: Dismissal Schedule  
Please make note of the different dismissal times Tuesday through Thursday during Finals Week, December 18 - 20.
Join A Faculty Member in Spreading Cheer to Sequoia Foster Youth This Holiday Season

My name is Maggie Sullivan, and I just joined the Sequoia math team this year.  I love the holidays but I know they are not easy for everyone, especially for those that can't be with family and friends.  My dad grew up in foster care and he shared with me just how difficult it can be to spend Christmas at a group home.  I've also worked with many foster youth in the Bay Area in my role as a teacher, and I know that sometimes, just being able to choose a gift for yourself, or being able to buy a gift for someone else, is what makes the holidays really special.
I want to make sure that Sequoia students in foster care get some holiday joy so I am raising money to purchase gift cards on their wish lists.  Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Here is a link to the go-fund-me page I have set up.  I am hoping to raise $100 per student.
Thank you and Happy Holidays!
~ Maggie Sullivan
Last Few Days to Support Sequoia Through Your Honey Bear Tree Purchase 
Tree lots are looking depleted - read and watch this local news coverage on the predicted tree shortage in the Bay Area.
Sequoia 2019 Grad Activities receives 15% of the purchase price when  you buy a holiday tree at HONEY BEAR TREES.  Bring this flyer when you purchase your tree and wreath. (If you happen to forget it, there will be extra flyers on the lot.) 
There are three locations convenient to our Sequoia school community:
  • 955 Woodside Road, Redwood City
  • 1579 El Camino Real, San Carlos
  • 651 El Camino Real, Redwood City
Hours are 9:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m., 7 days a week!
Read Our Student Publications - The Raven Report and All That's Lit To Print 
Have a little down time this holiday to catch up on some reading?  Check out what our Sequoia Students are publishing!  There are many interesting articles from students' perspectives, and glimpses into the environment they spend most of their day.
Latest Raven Report - Student Newspaper: November 2018 Issue 
Student Literary Publications - All That's Lit to Print  
Cookies and Help Still Needed at Staff Appreciation Luncheon 
Thanks to all who have signed up to donate and help the PTSA appreciate our staff & teachers on Thursday, December 20!  We are still in need of a few donations and help on the actual day so please sign up in support of our amazing team at Sequoia.
Click here to provide cookies or help on the day of the event (shifts from 9:00 - 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 - 2:30 p.m.).
Give the Gift of Gently Used Coats, Mittens and Scarves    
purple coat
The Sequoia Health Careers Academy is once again sponsoring a coat drive for those in need.  Last year, we managed to gather 55 coats.
Please donate gently used coats, mittens, and scarves of any size to Room 125, and help others in our community stay warm in the cold months to come.
Any questions, please contact Ashley Gray at  
Holiday Gift Program: A Huge Thank You to All!  Help Still Needed for Holiday Dinner
Photo courtesy of Cocina 
Sequoia's Family Center would like to thank the 175+ donors in our community -- parents, students, teachers, staff, grandparents, alumni, neighbors, religious organizations, businesses and more -- who have all come together to fulfill the over 600 wishes in our Adopt-a-Family Holiday Gift Project.  Thanks to you, a record-setting 100 Sequoia students and their families will feel Sequoia's UNALIYI spirit this December, and enjoy a healthier, happier winter break.  We are deeply grateful for our generous community, super proud of our Sequoia students and families, and excited to continue supporting them to reach their goals in the new year.
Many of you have asked how else you can support students and families-in-need this holiday season. Here's how you can help:
1) We need a few more helpers at our Family Center Holiday Dinner on Thursday, December 20 from 6:15 - 7:45 p.m.  Please sign up on this spreadsheet to help serve food for an hour in the MPR.  This should be a fun night of delicious food, friends and families, inspirational student awards, piñatas and more!
2) Please consider   making a donation to SHSEF   so that we can continue to support hard working students and families-in-need   throughout the school year in many, many important ways .  Every dollar helps!  Thank you again! 
Our best wishes for a wonderful 2019!
¡Nuestros mejores deseos por un próspero 2019!
Elvira Macias, Bilingual Parent Liaison, Sequoia Family Center,
Elisa Niño-Sears, SHSEF Family Support Chair,
Thank You to Our 2019 Grad Fundraising Committee

Our graduating class of 2019's main fundraising efforts are concluding for the year.  Special thanks to Tricia Smith for organizing the fund-raisers, and also to Sian Davies and Grace Schulz.  We appreciate their unending commitment toward promoting Love Bags, Bleacher Cushions, and Honey Bear Trees, in order to fund Safe and Sober Graduation Activities next year.
Senior Families, don't forget to buy Graduation Party Tickets on the Hornblower, and please consider a donation to help those with limited financial means attend this final celebration of their high school years.
Let It Snow...     
Sequoia Orchestra playing under snowfall at Carrington Hall.
And snow it did at this year's Orchestra, Choir and Band Concerts that were held this past Wednesday and Thursday.  Over 150 students played and sang music from a selection of classical canons, contemporary works, and holiday classics as audience members marveled at the beautiful sounds and the enthusiasm of Sequoia's musicians.   
A heartfelt thanks to Mr. Danny Broome, Ms. Jane Woodman, and Mr. Othello Jefferson for sharing their passion for music with their students and the audience!   
Spring 2018 Mini-Grant Impact Stories 
SPED Independent Study Curriculum
4 mini-grants of $400 (total of $1600)
By pooling our grants, the Special Education Department was able to purchase the needed textbooks, CDs, and Teacher Editions.  This allows us to offer a comprehensive curriculum to students who need some assistance staying on track for graduation.  The standards-based AGS curriculum enables our students with disabilities to successfully make up failed general education classes.  Our students generally read one to three grades below level and attend general education classes.  With the AGS program, our students are able to work independently and earn missing credit towards graduation.  We have found that our students have success with these books as they engage students who struggle with reading, language, or a learning disability.
The mini-grant process was very straightforward.  We were very excited to get the funding to create our independent study program.  Thank you!
~ Peter Gross

2018 mini grant Professional Development in Mexico City
I was able to use my mini-grant funds to pay the program fee for attending a week-long workshop in Mexico City that covered the history of the Mexican Revolution.  I gathered resources, collaborated with teachers from all over the country, and cannot wait to implement new lessons into my IB History of the Americas course.  Our site visits, including to the pyramids in Teotihuacan, and VIP access to Diego Rivera murals all over the city, were phenomenal.
~ Teresa Yeager

PTSA Mini-Grants are offered twice each year to enhance education at Sequoia High School.  The grants are awarded to students, teachers, staff members and school groups who need financial support for projects or supplies that benefit the Sequoia community.  Grants are available up to $500 and are made possible by funding from the Sequoia High School Education Foundation (SHSEF).
In This Issue

Tuesday - Thursday,
December 18 - 20
Finals' Week
Fall Finals Bell Schedule

Thursday, December 20
11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Teacher & Staff Appreciation Luncheon - Sign Up to Help

Friday, December 21 - Tuesday, January 8, 2019
Winter Break - No School

Wednesday, January 9
Back-to-School: Collaboration Schedule

Tuesday, January 15, 2019
6:00 p.m.
8th Grade IB Info Meeting,
Carrington Hall

Tuesday, January 15, 2019
7:00 p.m.

Monday, January 21, 2019
No School

Quick Links
Class of 2019:
Buy Your Grad Party Tickets Now 
Celebrate graduation aboard the HORNBLOWER YACHT! 
Cruise starts at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, June 7 until 3:00 a.m. on Saturday.  You and your fellow graduates will enjoy a 3-hour party cruising around the San Francisco Bay.  The evening will include food, music, dancing, photos and other fun activities.  Transportation to and from the event is included. The bus will return to school around 4 a.m.  Click here 
to purchase. 
Give the Gift of a Sequoia Cushion
Spread school spirit and enhance the enjoyment of  Sequoia games with a comfortable stadium seat cushion.  Buy one for yourself or as a gift in our Webstore
Donate Your Old Bike - All Sizes Welcome 
If you have some bikes in your garage gathering cobwebs, or if you'd like to make a monetary donation, please contact:  Scott Stalder-Skarmoutsos: and Stephanie Weden: 
Join the PTSA  Anytime!  
Visit the
  to buy your 2018-19 PTSA membership today and contribute to Sequoia's Unaliyi spirit! 
Happy Holidays From the Sentinel Team
This issue marks our last for the year and we will restart publication on January 7, 2019.  Happy New Year and have a wonderful break!  
Our readers enjoy hearing about activities, events, and accomplishments of our Sequoia students, staff and community.  If you have articles to submit to the Sentinel (including photos and links), please email the article/blurb by the Thursday before publication.  See the following Guidelines for news submissions.  
Find past issues of the Sentinel at   
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Parent Education

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Parent Ed
Photo courtesy of (c); used with permission.

Alice Kleeman , College Advisor and  Angel Pérez, PhD , Vice President, Trinity College
Twenty Years in College Admission - What Has Changed, What Hasn't: Reflections from Both Sides of the Desk
Wednesday, January 16, 2019, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Menlo-Atherton High School
M-A Performing Arts Center (PAC)
What has changed in college admission over the past 20 years? And what has not changed? 
Join  Alice Kleeman , former M-A College Advisor, and  Angel Pérez, PhD , Vice President of Trinity College, for a lively conversation around college admission--from both sides of the desk. 
Parents, students, educators, and community members welcome!   Free admission and light refreshments.  Spanish interpretation will be available.
Questions?  Contact Charlene Margot, M.A., Director, The Parent Education Series, at .
Community News